A suggested change protocol
As with every faculty of study, there are numerous school’s of thought as to the methodology of change management. In order to determine a successful change protocol one must consider some of these school’s of thought.
Although there can be many goals of a planned change; fundamentally, the goals are: to improve the ability of the organisation by adapting to changes in its environment, and to seek a change in employee behaviour; with the ultimate goal of these changes to improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency (Kotter 1995, p.2-3).
According to Shani and Pasmore, the processes of change management include: ‘diagnosis, analysis, feedback, action and evaluation’ (1985, p. 438). Through the process of diagnosis, an organisation’s change agent, may gather information about the individual and groups perception of the possible change. Through analysis he or she may determine the main problems the individuals and groups within the organisation may focus in on. After this, the feedback stage requires the involvement of the individuals and groups (the employees) to develop a solution. The fourth stage, the action part, requires the change to be set in motion. The final step is evaluation, which determines the actual change’s effectiveness, and ultimately, has it made the organisation more effective and efficient?
At all times, the organisation should involve and gain the support of the people within the system. Management should understand where the organisation is at the moment; where it is desired to be, when, why, and what the measures will be for having got it there. According to Kotter, plans should be in place to ‘develop appropriate, achievable, and measurable stages of the change, while involving, enabling and facilitating the involvement of people, as early and openly as is possible’ (Kotter 1995, p.2-3).
Change must be realistic, achievable and measurable (Kotter 1995, p.6). These aspects are especially relevant to managing individual and group change. Before starting organisational change, an organisation must determine what it wants to achieve with this change; why, and how will it know that the change has been achieved. It then must address who is affected by this change, and how they will react to it. Lastly, how much of this change the organisation is capable of achieving independently, and what aspects of the change does it need specialist or outside help to achieve.
Lewin argued that ‘successful change in organisations should follow three steps: unfreezing from the status quo, movement to a new state, and then refreezing of the new status quo’ (as cited by Robbins et al 2004, p. 575). For example, when applying Lewin’s three step model to the recent change within Nepean Hospital, one may see that the status quo, or equilibrium is the perception that the only way to move a patient from a bed to a chair is to ‘physically lift’ and the cultural belief that ‘nurses are supposed to lift.’ To move from this ‘equilibrium, and overcome the pressures of individual resistance and group conformity requires unfreezing’ (Lewin, as cited by Robbins et al 2004, p. 575).
In order to unfreeze these concepts, the organisation may increase the driving forces that direct organisational behaviour away from the status quo. In this case the driving forces of the change includes the introduction of new technologies making it physically easier to utilize the technology of a Hover Mat, the nature of the workforce including the increased professionalism, the change in social trends increasing the amount of obese people in society today, and the economical and political benefits of decreasing the workers compensation claims associated with back injuries caused by poor manual handling methods. Through education, the organisation may change the perception of individuals and groups to understand the greater need for these changes.
Alternatively, the restraining forces, which decrease the movement from the existing equilibrium, may be decreased. In this circumstance, individual’s who oppose the change on cultural views, may be educated and in doing so, change their perception of the change. According to Kotter, ‘it is often individual’s who oppose change, where groups are merely conforming to individual’s views’ (1995, p.6). By changing the perception of individuals, groups that oppose the change, may dissipate, allowing for the unfreezing process to occur.
Furthermore, an organisation may apply both the previous concepts to promote the unfreezing process, and in doing so, the movement process, from the ‘old’ way of transferring a patient from a bed to a chair to the ‘new’ way is capable.
Lastly, as the movement ceases, equilibrium develops, and the refreezing process begins, and the new organisational cultural norms start to develop.
By considering these concepts, Nepean Hospital may be able to develop a change protocol to be used whenever the organisation intends to implement a change; regardless of whether or not it is going to affect the individual employee, group or organisational structure. By utilizing a change protocol, the organisation, may be able to implement change more successfully, by decreasing the resistance to the change by the individuals and groups and increasing effectiveness and efficiency of the organization. This a suggested change protocol:
1. Determine the need for change
2. Involve all employees in the process
3. Determine possible problems associated with the change by communicating with the individuals and groups (employees of the organization)
4. Determine possible solutions for overcoming the resistance to the change, whether it be by altering the change itself, or the perception of those who ultimately going to be affected by the change
5. Implement the change
6. Evaluate the change, to determine whether or not it has been successful; for example, has the organization become more or less effective as a result?